Ease of use and functionality
Once I pressed the ‘On’ button, the athlete sprang into action. The speedy Intel quad-core i7 2.2 GHz processor had Windows 7 open in no time. The keyboard lit up with a white backlight. Gaming (and even typing up my reviews) in the dark had previously required a USB powered light so that I can see which keys I’m pressing, so the backlit keyboard is a godsend. The backlight can be dimmed or brightened depending on the need and location.
What to do first, though? Some games or test out some of the inbuilt functions. Hmmm, the 3D looks interesting, let’s give that a go.
The Series 7 comes complete with 3D capabilities and a set of 3D glasses. There are some demo videos that look stunning in 3D, but I also tested out some 3D Blu-ray videos I had on hand to see how they would look. And they were a delight to watch. The Full HD LED display is crisp and bright allowing for some of the clearest pictures I’ve seen on a notebook. The 3D images do stand out well, that extra depth perception being an immediate plus in my books. With the number of titles with 3D options not doubt increasing, it is certainly good to have this feature built in. I also had some other videos on USB and decided to run them side-by side on my wife’s current laptop to see if there was any noticeable difference. The difference was immediately apparent. The 1920 x 1080 SuperBright monitor showed the details in wonderful clarity in comparison to her mid-range year-old machine. The audio coming out of the 4W stereo speakers was also loud and clear with the Dolby Home Theatre.
Ok, so the videos look nice and clear and run smoothly, but most laptops can handle these basic tasks (albeit, not in 3D). Could this Notebook handle some tougher opposition? I switched to Gaming mode and the screen lit up, the keyboard which was already lit up, changed to gaming mode whereby the WASD keys were highlighted in a red glow. That definitely makes it much easier for playing in the dark. With the keys already lit up and with the WASD keys already having squares around them, the red highlight is possibly overdoing it slightly, but it is definitely a nice touch.
Hmmm, what games should I test it with?
With the bright lights, the stage was set for the race. How would the Series 7 with its AMD Radeon HD6970M perform under the pressure of some of the toughest challenges including Skyrim and Battlefield 3? After quickly being installed with all the associated software, I tested out Battlefield 3. Oh, how much fun it is to play when the higher graphic settings run smoothly. On the high settings it was getting in excess of 45fps. Without a hitch, the game rolled along smoothly, allowing me to pinpoint my targets with ease without the stutters whilst running or traversing the landscape in one of the various armoured vehicles. The Series 7 did struggle somewhat on the highest graphical settings though with the occasional splutter on the largest, most populated maps.
After the visual splendour of the battlefield (somewhat of an oxymoron, isn’t it?), Skyrim was installed and switched into action. And the Samsung Series 7 Gamer PC handled it very well indeed. With an average frame rate of above 40fps, even during scenes with lots of action, the machine performed solidly. The lands of Skyrim have never looked so good from my point of view. Even on the Ultra high settings, I was achieving average frame rates of over 30fps, with Tamriel and its inhabitants being rendered superbly and with minimum performance issues.
Worth the price tag?
OK, so the Series 7 Gamer PC is a little on the pricey side at just under $3,000 (AUD), isn’t overly flashy and probably needs to go on a diet to reduce some weight. And with around two hours of use on the battery, don’t expect to be able to play a full game of Civilization V while not plugged in to a power outlet. The only other issue I had with it was the lack of a scroll function on the touchpad. I don’t always have my mouse attached when sitting on the sofa surfing the net, and the lack of a scroll-wheel function on the touchpad was a little annoying.
But as far as gaming is concerned, the Series 7 Gamer PC excels. With a wonderfully bright screen, the 3D capabilities, the backlit keyboard with highlighted WASD keys and the powerful performance on the higher quality settings on Skyrim and Battlefield 3, it would certainly give some of the other gaming laptops a run for their money. The simple dial for changing modes is a nice touch too. If it was the aforementioned Olympic 100m runner, it would definitely be on the dais accepting a medal.
It is with much disappointment that I have to hand it back.
For full System Specifications, visit the Samsung website.
The Samsung Series 7 Gamer PC is available now.